Archived—Clarification Questions to the Call for Applications to License Satellite Orbital Positions

August 2006

Introduction

In accordance with Section 8.1 of the Call for Applications to License Satellite Orbital Positions (Call for Applications), Industry Canada invited clarification questions concerning the procedures or policies set out in the Call.

Industry Canada received seven questions. These questions and Industry Canada's responses are provided in this document.

Questions and Industry Canada Responses

Question 1.

There is no deadline date for satellite users to give notice by way of Appendix A of their intention to participate in the proceeding. It is assumed that the deadline is August 15, 2006 but clarification would be helpful to users.

Response:

The deadline is indicated on page 29, Section 8.5(b) of the Call for Applications. The deadline is August 15, 2006.

Question 2.

Is it the intention of Industry Canada to permit applicants for orbital positions to be able to ask questions of the other applicants? This will likely make for a more complete record for the proceeding.

Response:

As indicated in Section 1 of the Call for Applications, owing to the importance of the resources available for Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications, Canadian satellite users are being provided an opportunity to participate directly in the licensing process. Applicants are encouraged to consult with Canadian satellite users in the development of their satellite plans. The Canadian Satellite Capacity and Services Plans provided by applicants will also be posted for public comment. All comments received on applicant plans will be posted on Industry Canada's Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website. Applicants are also invited to respond to the comments posted, and these reply comments will be posted as well. While Industry Canada, as indicated in Section 3 of the Call for Applications, has invited Canadian satellite users to comment on the plans of applicants, Section 1 of the Call for Applications indicates that all comments received will be taken into consideration in the assessment of applications.

Question 3.

We note that Appendix C of the IC Call refers to information available on the IC website (www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/h_sf01878.html) regarding the Canadian ITU filings for the various frequency bands at various orbital locations. We also note that a summary of these filings found at www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf08673.html identifies the administrations affected by the Canadian filings and, in a few cases, indicates that coordination agreements have been concluded.

Are the summary records of such frequency coordination discussions available to the applicants? By way of background, it is likely that for the orbital locations and networks for which no agreements have been reached, frequency coordination discussions have been held. The objective of such discussions is typically to put limits on satellite EIRP and earth station off-axis uplinking EIRP over and above the limits given in the ITU Radio Regulations. These conditions will affect the type of service that can be offered. For example, in the case of DTH TV, a certain minimum satellite EIRP is required in order to meet a specified signal availability for a given percentage of time.

In the case where agreements have been reached, such agreements will eventually be notified to the ITU. However, the information notified may not give a complete picture of the coordination agreement. In view of this, are such frequency coordination agreements available to the applicants?

Response:

Frequency coordination agreements are generally kept confidential between government administrations and their respective satellite operators. As a result, the Canadian administration may not, without the consent of the other administration, and subject to the Access to Information Act, disclose the contents of such a coordination agreement and of documents or information pertaining to such a coordination agreement, whether provided before or after the coordination was effected. Industry Canada would normally only seek consent to provide copies to currently licensed or new satellite operators.

We further note that the majority of the coordination agreements indicated in the table of coordination filings relate to Ka FSS filings. All these agreements were concluded on the basis of compliance with the American Federal Communication Commission's 2 degree spacing rules for Ka band satellite spectrum. With respect to the agreements for the CANSAT-14 filing for the use of extended Ku band, the coordination agreements with Luxemburg and The Netherlands are generally consistent with the filing.

Note that the table also incorrectly indicated coordination agreements for the CANSAT KA-19 filings. These are now correctly indicated in the posted table.

Question 4.

We note that the PDF summary at www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf08673.html may have some missing information on Pages 11 and 12. Can Industry Canada please confirm that the information supplied at that URL is; 1) up-to-date and 2) complete?

Response:

It appears that a page was missing from the English version of the table posted at the following URL: www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf08673.html. Additionally, the table incorrectly omitted a filing, for CANSAT-34 - related to licence 13. The table also incorrectly indicated coordination agreements for the CANSAT KA-19 filings.

A revised version of the table, with appropriate corrections, is now posted at the above URL. As indicated in Appendix C of the Call for Applications, although every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information available, applicants are encouraged to independently research international coordination information for those licences of interest to them, in an effort to determine international coordination status.

Question 5.

The United States FCC recently announced a Notice of Proposed Rule Making for utilizing the 17 GHz BSS frequency band on a schedule which is con-current with the Industry Canada Call. As noted by the Department many of the Canadian filings are at the same, or near, US orbital position filings. What process does Industry Canada envisage for the coordination and development of the Canadian 17 GHz spectrum, and what role is envisioned for Applicants as well as the successful Canadian licensees? Could Industry Canada please indicate whether it has had any discussions with the FCC on how the two administrations will resolve the 'equal priority' use of that spectrum in the North American arc, and if so please summarize the status of those discussions?

Response:

As indicated in Section 5.3.2 of the Call for Applications, the international coordination of satellite networks is carried out within the context of the procedures outlined in the International Telecommunication Union's Radio Regulations. Industry Canada will work with selected applicants to achieve the most favourable conditions possible for the operation of proposed satellite networks taking into account Canada's broader interests regarding access to orbital and spectrum resources.

Industry Canada has not yet had any discussions with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with respect to international coordination of 17 GHz BSS satellite networks.

Question 6.

For each of the licences 1-10, please indicate the licence fees that would apply, and the milestone that would trigger the commencement of such fees. Also, in reference to section 7.3(f) of the Call, indicate the time frame that Industry Canada plans to commence consultation with the industry on spectrum fees. Does the Department intend to commence this consultation before or after the licences are awarded?

Response:

In Section 7.3, applicants are advised of an upcoming review of the Canadian broadcasting and fixed satellite licensing regime. Prior to the conclusion of the consultation and implementation of any new regime, satellites authorized pursuant to this Call for Applications would receive a radio licence. The fees for radio licences are determined in accordance with the Radiocommunication Regulations. It is expected that the consultation on a new Canadian broadcasting and fixed satellite licensing regime will commence this fiscal year aiming for implementation in the 2008/2009 time frame, and that any existing licences would be transitioned to the new regime.

Question 7.

In section 6.3.1 of the Call, the Department states that applicants are required to operate their satellite facilities as Canadian telecommunications common carriers as defined in the Telecommunications Act or as part of a Canadian Broadcasting undertaking as defined in the Broadcasting Act. In the event of multiple applicants for the same resource, where a single user intends to use the full resources of the satellite, please indicate if the Department would have any preferences, all things being equal, to awarding the licence to a Canadian carrier or a Canadian broadcasting undertaking? For the purposes of this question, assume that the broadcasting undertaking would, pursuant to being awarded the licence, operate the facilities in association with a Canadian satellite common carrier. Given that the Department has not previously awarded licence to broadcasting undertakings (with few exceptions) does the Department require any unique information from applicants that are broadcasting undertakings in order for such applications to be considered equal to a rival application from a telecommunications common carrier?

Response:

Where more than one application is received for a licence, Industry Canada will assess the applications against the criteria set out in the Call for Applications. Industry Canada will view favourably those applications with viable plans demonstrating the greatest benefit to Canadians. All information requirements for all applicants, whether a broadcasting undertaking or a telecommunications common carrier, are set out in the Call for Applications.

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